Originally published in The Telegraph.
oazzam Begg, director of the controversial advocacy group Cage, has encouraged people to go to Syria and “defend the revolution” against President Assad, as he accuses the Government of using Isil as “a stick to beat” Muslims with.
The former Guantanamo Bay detainee also described two young British men who were imprisoned for 13 years after travelling to Syria to join an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group as “really good brothers”.
Rupert Sutton, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a counter-extremism think tank, said Begg’s comments could leave people “vulnerable to radicalisation”.
“Begg’s speech is deeply irresponsible – not only does he suggest people should travel to Syria, he defends convicted Al-Qaeda fighters and downplays the very real threat we face from Islamist terrorism,” he said.
“These comments are yet more evidence of Begg’s divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, which seeks to frighten Muslim communities into believing the government is targeting their religion, and risks driving an ‘us and them’ mentality which leaves people vulnerable to radicalisation.”